The Bulgarian-born Irena Manolova (89), internationally acclaimed marimba and percussion artist, started playing percussion at the age of six. In 2016 Irena got awarded the Start-Stipendium Scholarship by the Federal Chancellery of Austria for her project Popularization of Marimba, which allowed her to complete her studies with the Japanese composer and marimba soloist Keiko Abe at the Toho Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo.
The marimbist is a winner of numerous solo and chamber music competitions, among which are: Laureate of Yordan Kamdzhalov’s Foundation in Sofia (2016); Fidelio Chamber Music Competition in Vienna (2014&2015); ARTos Soloist Music Prize in Antwerp (2013); First Prize for Chamber Music at the Universal Marimba Competition in Belgium (2011); Marimba Solo laureate of the International Marimba Competition in Fermo (2010) and of the International Competition Music and Earth in Sofia (2008) etc. She performed in concert halls and venues including the Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Vienna State Opera, ORF Radiokulturhaus, MuTh in Vienna; Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam; Stadsschouwburg Leuven and deSingel Antwerp in Belgium; Auditorio de Tenerife in Spain, etc. Irena gained her experience as an orchestral percussionist with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra Amsterdam, Ensemble Kontrapunkte, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra etc.
After graduating the National Music School Lubomir Pipkov (2008) in Sofia, Bulgaria, Irena obtained with the greatest distinction her Bachelor degree of Percussion (2011), Marimba Master Degree (2013) and Master of Percussion degree (2014) at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, Belgium, guided by her teachers Ludwig Albert, Lin Chin-Cheng and Nando Russo. As a continuation, Irena specialized with the composer and multi-percussion concert artist Nebojša Živkovic exclusively on his percussion and marimba works at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna in 2014, followed by performing together with him the Serbian premiere of his Double Percussion Concerto Obsesiones during the Nomus Festival 2015 in Novi Sad. As a young pedagogue, Irena presented her marimba and percussion educational workshops at the Amadeus International School of Vienna in 2015 and 2016. She is currently based in Vienna, completing her pedagogical studies Master of Arts Education at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna and is regularly performing as a guest member of various orchestras, chamber and contemporary ensembles in Austria.
Tomasz Goliński (86) is a Polish composer, marimbist and percussionist. He is one of the leading composers and performers of his generation on the international marimba/percussion scene. Only at the age of 28, Tomasz’s Double Percussion Concerto No.1 was commissioned and premiered in 2015 by Tuopali Duo, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife and Maestro Eckart Preu (USA) during the International Festival de Música Contemporánea de Tenerife at the Auditorio de Tenerife in Spain. His Double Marimba Concerto No.2 was premiered in 2017 by Lucid Duo, Koszalin Philharmonic and Maestro Simone Zuccatti in Koszalin (Poland), followed by the World Premiere of his Marimba Concertino Luminosity by Mark Ford and Opole Philharmonic during the Drum Fest 2018 in Opole (Poland), commissioned by Mark Ford/University of North Texas. In 2019 Filippo Lattanzi performed the Italian Premiere of Luminosity Concertino together with the Orchestra della Fondazione Petruzzelli in Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari under the baton of Luigi Piovano.
The composer receives commissions from Austria, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, USA, Poland, Spain, and Denmark. In 2016 Tomasz held his composition masterclass at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna. He is a laureate of several international competitions including the First prize of the Universal Marimba Composition Competition in Belgium (2011&2012) with his marimba solo pieces Luminosity and Purity; Second prize at the 39th Percussive Arts Society Percussion Composition Contest in the USA with his marimba solo piece The Absurd World (2011); Second Prize Marimba Solo of the 8th Percussive Arts Society Italy International Percussion Competition in Fermo (2010); Scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2010) and from the Ministry of Flemish Community in Brussels, Belgium (2012) etc.
Tomasz obtained with the greatest distinction his Master degrees in Percussion, Marimba, Chamber Music and Postgraduate Marimba Solo in the class of Ludwig Albert at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Leuven College of Arts in Belgium and at the Music Academy in Gdansk. He graduated his Bachelor in Composition in the class of Luc van Hoove at the Leuven College of Arts, as well as a specialization of electroacoustic composition with Joris de Laet. Tomasz’s works have been published by the Danish publishing house Edition Svitzer and by Keyboard Percussion Music in the USA.